We had the good fortune of connecting with Chelsey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chelsey, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
It had already been in my mind back when I was waitressing. Funny thing is, what I really wanted to do was open a botanical shop where interesting house plants & accessories were sold. I was working part-time at a flower studio, but this studio is what made my fall in love with this industry! COVID restrictions & lockdown put a lot of people in some scary situations. The woman I had been working for, essentially my mentor, was put in a tough position and long story short, costs needed to be minimized and I lost my job there.
I kept noticing as the vaccine was becoming available and restrictions began to lighten up, people were having small gatherings to celebrate or intimate elopements, and still needing florals for them! I didn’t want to have to depend on someone else or their business to touch & offer flowers again. Before losing my position at the flower shop, I was fortunate enough to know like 2 months ahead of time to create some sort of game plan. 2 months before my departure from the shop, I looked up the steps to start an LLC so that I can have access to wholesale flowers. I didn’t really have a set game plan, I just knew I wanted to make arrangements and offer them to clients and the rest I would figure out along the way.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
A Flower in Moonlight Design is a home-based floral studio based out of Union County, NJ. We dream up full service floral planning for weddings/celebrations, where we offer vaseware/candle/decor rentals and create a custom floral design concept unique to every couple. This can include installations such as arches or aerial designs, and always includes attention to detail.
We also offer A la Carte wedding service where couples can get just what they need in a simpler fashion. Usually this is only a quick delivery and the client’s would set up their celebrations as they please.
I was really inspired by the many elopement shoots I’ve seen on social media, so we also now offer Elopement Packages for personals only for the couple with the option to upgrade to include ceremony site floral accents.
For now, AFM remains only a wedding/event floral studio, but I do like to reach out to nearby businesses to plan for Pop Up Shops throughout the year to offer out designs to the community. Usually around certain holidays like Mothers Day or for the Winter Holidays. We are lucky enough to be located between two amazing downtowns and the people have been so supportive when we show up!
I can’t say any part of this came easy, this is a back breaking industry and a lot of people don’t realize it. Business-wise, it was hard financially. Again, this decision was put into motion a bit spontaneously and during 2020. This is also a very visual business and you need people to see your work in order to trust you enough for hire.
In the beginning, I invested in supplies, product, and professional photos. In order to fund these, I would take on any little flower request from family or friends who somewhat knew what my arrangements looked like from my time at the shop.
I would even take pictures of those little arrangements and post it. So, I was getting content and money to put towards my next investment.
In my experience, the more quality images of my work put out into the world, the more inquiries and booked client’s I’ve been getting.
Lessons I’ve learned, always always have a plan B. I try really hard to never fully rely on anything/anyone and I never assume, Bring extra of everything, always.
We love our town’s community and when we get the chance to serve them.
I do hope and plan for a future where we find a space to call our home among the other small business owners to offer our designs on a consistent basis!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m located just 30 mins outside of NYC so maybe I’d show them around the flower market if they have never been. It’s really something else to see all those flowers en mass like that! Maybe take a drive to the lake nearby and hang there for the day. In my view, the most fun things to do is reserve a cabin upstate, go on hikes, swims, hang out by the fire with close friends and even some new! Its always been a great experience.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
All the women at Blue Jasmine floral studio! When I was a baby designer, they were so patient and gracious with me the entire time, To this day they are always willing to help and only want to see me succeed. I feel incredibly lucky work beside them! I still work on events with them 🙂
Catia Conde Photo Lex Christie Photo Liz Andolina Photography